Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as:
The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.
Objectives of EIA:
• To ensure that environmental considerations are explicitly addressed and incorporated into the development decision making process;
• To anticipate and avoid, minimize or offset the adverse significant biophysical, social and other relevant effects of development proposals;
• To protect the productivity and capacity of natural systems and the ecological processes which maintain their functions;
• To promote development that is sustainable and optimizes resource use and management opportunities.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process informs planners, decision makers and affected public on the sustainability of strategic decisions, facilitates the search for the best alternative and ensures a democratic decision making process.